I’m laying in bed, reflecting on the events of the day, and appreciating how far I’ve come in life. It is easy for me to forget sometimes that I have things pretty good. I’m not even talking about comparing myself to the starving kids in Africa or anything like that. Even in my own peer group, I am pretty lucky.
Life is hard. There are so many growing pains that we all go through to move from that blissful ignorance of adolescents into the painful awareness of adulthood. Legally, we are considered an adult when we turn 18. They give us the right to vote, the obligation to make ourselves ready to serve in the military, and send us out into the world. The truth is, there is no exact age when we pass that threshhold.
I think I’ve been pretty lucky in that. My life has been difficult at times, but never as bad as it could have been. I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way, but for the most part, I was prepared well by my parents for life in the real world. I was given the tools I needed to stand on my own two feet, even if I didn’t always use them.
It can be easy for me to pass judgement and say things like, “You just have to learn,” or “Try harder.” I have advantages that some people don’t. I have a support system. My friends and family have looked out for me, guided me, and given me strength. Some people have never had that.
It baffles me when I hear about a family, especially parents, that lack empathy for their children. I have no frame of reference for what it must be like to grow up in a home where the people that are suppose to care for you, watch out for you, and guide you in life are apathetic about how things turn out.
I can’t imagine a life where my parents decided that they were done being mentors, guides, and shelters in the storm.
I can’t imagine a family that doesn’t look out for each other, no matter what.
There are many things you might be able to say about us, but one thing you will never be able to say is that we are not supportive and loving.
To me, that’s what it means to be part of a family, and it is a big part of what it means to be an adult, and a man.
Look out for each other.